Traveling on a Fixed Income
Oh, the places you’ll go! Renowned author Dr. Seuss wrote a children’s book in 1990 that has become a popular graduation gift for young adults. Part of its message:1
“You’re off to Great Places!
Today is your day!
Your mountain is waiting.
So … get on your way!”
Perhaps for some people, the time to travel is when they’re young — before they get enmeshed in a job or career, before they get married and have children, before their lifestyle becomes defined by the amount of their first mortgage. Some young adults have the means for planned travel, while others just throw a few things in a backpack and head out.
Other people spend their working lives dreaming of going off to Great Places once they retire. But whether you had the opportunity to travel when you were younger or are looking forward to the prospect in retirement, there’s no denying that it’s going to cost more than a few bucks. In fact, the older we get, the more some of us may expect a certain standard for travel (no youth hostels).
To make travel plans a part of your retirement, make it a part of your retirement strategy. In addition to calculating household expenses, consider incorporating a discretionary fund for vacationing away from home. We can help. Schedule time with us to review your current retirement income strategy and help you figure out ways to budget for your retirement travel plans.
Traveling once you’re on a fixed income can be a challenge, but it’s by no means impossible. Consider these tips to help you pursue your retirement travel dreams.2
- Travel in the off-peak season, such as October or April for a popular beach locale. However, if you vacation during hurricane season (June 1 through Nov. 30), consider buying travel insurance.
- Don’t rely solely on internet search-and-compare websites. If you have a specific hotel in mind, call it directly to request its best rate.
- Use your credit card rewards points, a perk that many people don’t use. Rewards points may be used to pay for all or part of vacation expenses.
- Be sure to ask whether a hotel, airline or other venue offers a discount for any memberships to which you belong, such as veterans groups, teacher associations or AAA.
- The best time to book domestic flights is about 54 days out from the date you want to travel.3
Two of the biggest expenses in travel are transportation and lodging. Many retirees tackle both with a recreational vehicle (RV). By driving and sleeping in the same vehicle, it’s possible to see America on a reasonable budget. Plus, there are perks, such as being able to cook at home instead of dining out, sleeping on your own sheets and pillows, and not having to pack and unpack at every destination.
The federal government offers a lifetime “America the Beautiful – The National Parks and Federal Recreational Lands Senior Pass” for only $80. This pass gains admittance to more than 2,000 federal recreation sites throughout the United States.4 Also good to know: You can camp anywhere in a national forest unless posted otherwise (a practice called “dispersed camping”).5 In other words, if you don’t mind roughing it (no services will be available), you don’t have to book a campsite ahead of time.
RV travel can offer a wide range of experiences from rustic to luxurious. You can buy or rent an RV, depending on the scenario that best meets your travel and financial needs. However, renting an RV you’re considering purchasing may be a good way to take the vehicle — and this mode of vacationing — out for a test drive.6
When it comes to finding inexpensive ways to afford travel costs on a fixed income, remember these wise words from Dr. Seuss:7
“So be sure when you step.
Step with care and great tact
And remember that Life’s
A Great Balancing Act.”
Content prepared by Kara Stefan Communications.
1 Dr. Seuss. Genius.com “Oh, the Places You’ll Go!” https://genius.com/Dr-seuss-oh-the-places-youll-go-excerpt-annotated. Accessed Jan. 23, 2018.
2 Brighthouse Financial. Nov. 17, 2017. “Travel More, Spend Less.” https://www.brighthousefinancial.com/education/living-in-retirement/travel-more-spend-less/?cid=paidsocial_twitter_relocation_12212017_701f10000024ukt. Accessed Jan. 23, 2018.
3 Suzy Strutner. HuffPost. May 11, 2017. “The Best Time To Book A Plane Ticket, According To A New Study.” https://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/best-day-to-book-plane-ticket_us_56cf1648e4b03260bf759b79. Accessed Feb. 20, 2018.
4 U.S. Geological Survey. “Frequently Asked Questions – Recreational Passes.” https://store.usgs.gov/faq#New-Senior-Pass-Update. Accessed Feb. 7, 2018.
5 U.S. Forest Service. “Dispersed Camping Guidelines.” https://www.fs.usda.gov/detailfull/fishlake/recreation/?cid=stelprdb5121831. Accessed Feb. 7, 2018.
6 GoRVing. “Buying an RV.” https://gorving.com/affordability/buying-renting. Accessed Jan. 23, 2018.
7 Dr. Seuss. Genius.com “Oh, the Places You’ll Go!” https://genius.com/Dr-seuss-oh-the-places-youll-go-excerpt-annotated. Accessed Jan. 23, 2018.
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